An appeals court has upheld a 1,000-year prison sentence given to a Florida man who raped three women more than 30 years ago.
Arthur O’Derrell Franklin has served 30 years of his sentence after being convicted of 20 felony charges.
Franklin was 17 years old at the time and his lawyers argued that only minors convicted of murder are eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 2010, the Supreme Court’s Graham v. Florida ruling stated that juveniles can only be sentenced to life without parole if they are convicted of homicide.
Originally, the judge sentenced him to 1,000 years with the possibility of parole after 333 years. The judge has since withdrawn her parole veto power and Franklin is now eligible for parole, according to the appeals court. Therefore the original sentence stands but Franklin has the ability to face a parole board and ask for leniency.
Judge Stephanie Ray wrote “the extreme length of a sentence does not in itself establish a Graham violation when that sentence is parole-eligible and no constitutional deficiency in the parole system has been established.”
Franklin, now 48, said “I would like to say I’m sorry about what happened to the victims. I wouldn’t mind getting another chance to prove I am a man and not an animal.”
State Attorney’s Office spokesperson Jackelyn Barnard said “we are hopeful the court’s decision will bring some peace and closure to the victims of these brutal attacks.”
In 1983, Franklin kidnapped and raped three women in Jacksonville. He was convicted of 20 felony counts ranging from armed sexual battery, kidnapping, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.